Central Australian native plant business literature and research synthesis

Central Australian native plant business literature and research synthesis Project Resources

Ninti One Working Paper

  • Author(s): Lovell, J
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: Ninti One Limited
  • Volume: NW003

Abstract: This working paper provides a focused review and discussion of literature, research and industry conversations pertaining to the use of native plants of inland central Australia, particularly those procured by Aboriginal people in remote drylands. It integrates key factors from bush foods plant business research with reference to complex systems theories used to (re)frame what we understand about the interrelationships of plants, knowledge and society in this arid region. The customary economic intersections stem from a small research project about the incorporation of customary practice and knowledge that is in everyday community use into social enterprise or other markets, value chains and systems of production. The paper seeks to integrate what we know through such research partnerships with Aboriginal custodians, harvesters and entrepreneurs with theories and policies relevant to the human geographic context of remote inland central Australia, and with a wider industry-focused literature related to horticultural development of agribusinesses. In addition, conversations with industry stakeholders reflect on the current policy discourse and its lack of reflection of remote inland central Australian networks, values and priorities in Australian Government northern development agendas. Formative findings from a research conference paper delivered at the Taiwan Austronesia 2016 conference: Community Economy, Market System and Transnational Trade Agreement (Lovell, 2016) reflect some questions and findings about current Aboriginal native plant use at an intersection with the health of people and the ecology of central Australia. Excerpts are included here, with further analysis towards incorporating central Australian native plants use, and their protection and value as assets of Aboriginal people and lands, into development scenarios based on ecological health and wellbeing outcomes. The public policy context and agenda are discussed in light of how they intersect and reflect the networks, agency and activity. This necessitates reframing the problem of a marginal remote inland that is associated with northern Australian development policy to include a functional remote and networked domain, albeit far away from the coastline-dominated discourse of Australian governments’ northern development agenda.

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